A loss of billions for ‘resilient’ Airbnb
Airbnb’s first financial report since the IPO turns deep red. Still, the tour company held its own, courtesy of travelers exploring their own neighborhood.
Resilience is what a company that often needs from tourism needs in these times. In lockdown year 2020, we were more at home than we would like, and this is clearly reflected in the figures from Airbnb. Logically, these are largely in a downward trend.
Customers booked 193.2 million overnight stays through the company in 2020, 41 percent less than a year earlier. That was good for a turnover of 3.4 billion dollars, 30 percent lower than in 2019. At first sight, this seems particularly painful, but in the context of a lockdown year it is not too bad, thanks to the local trips of people who sought relaxation closer to home.
The fact that the gross operating profit (EBITDA) fell ‘only’ 7 percent to a loss of 251 million euros, is therefore also a boost and a sign that Airbnb is intervening in the area of costs. In the last quarter of 2020, gross operating profit of -21 million euros was even almost in positive territory.
On the bottom line of the profit and loss account, there is a huge crater, with an annual loss of 4.6 billion euros. That monster loss is mainly situated in the last quarter, where Airbnb posted a net loss of $ 3.9 billion. The reasons for this are the stock options attached to the IPO that were paid out and an emergency funding of more than $ 800 million that the company took out to sit out the pandemic storm.
We believe that people crave what was taken from them by the pandemic.
The question now is how investors will look at that financial crater. Promising tech gems are more financially stolen, because they can usually present enormous growth and thus future prospects. But Airbnb lacks that growth due to the pandemic.
So the question is whether investors believe that once the situation normalizes, the company will be back on its feet right away and take even more market share. Resilience, if you will. Hence the emphasis on that word in the annual report.
CEO and founder Bryan Chesky is already convinced that 2021 will be the year of the ‘travel rebound’. “Traveling is coming back,” it said in a conference call with analysts. “We believe that people long for what was taken from them by the pandemic.”